How To Save Location On Garmin

Surveying with a GPS

Reviewed 2015-06-07

Learning to edit is one of the key parts of mapping – that is how you add information to the bodily map. Only the other task is collecting the information itself – that is, going out and surveying an area.

In this affiliate we will see what a GPS does and how it works. You will learn how to operate a GPS, and how to apply it to create maps.

Here nosotros will explain how to operate the Garmin eTrex Vista HCx, a common GPS used for mapping. At that place are many other models of GPS which do the same thing, so if you are working with a unlike i, don’t worry – the principles remain the aforementioned.

What is a GPS?

A GPS is like a mobile phone, except that instead of receiving radio signals from telephone companies, it receives signals from satellites that are going around the World. By receiving these signals from the satellites, a GPS is able to calculate your verbal location on the planet. It records this location in coordinates, which are ii long numbers. One number tells you how far E or West you lot are – this is chosen longitude. The second number tells you how far North or South you are – this is called latitude. Every place on Globe has unique geographic coordinates.

For example: -8.639298 Latitude, 116.311607 Longitude is a location in Lombok, Republic of indonesia.

Garmin eTrex Vista HCx

Turn on the GPS

Before you turn on your GPS, get outside where yous have a clear view of the heaven. Because the GPS determines your location past receiving signals from satellites, it won’t piece of work indoors.

On the right side of your GPS, press and concord the Ability button. The GPS will outset, and information technology will show you the Satellites folio. Y’all should see something like the image beneath. Your GPS is looking for satellite signals. When it has connected to three or more satellites, information technology will take your location.

GPS determined location

Once your location is determined, the Satellite screen will disappear and you will come across the main carte.

GPS main menu

  • The GPS has unlike screens and menus that allow you lot to do dissimilar things. To switch between screens, press the button marked “X”, just in a higher place the ability push on the right side of the device. This button besides serves to get back. If yous printing something by error and would like to cancel or get back, printing the “X” button.
  • Past pressing the X button, you should be able to flip through unlike screens that volition look something like this:

GPS all

  • If y’all return to the Satellites page, you lot can meet that yous are connected to three or more satellites. In the upper left corner are your coordinates, your latitude and longitude.

  • Flip to the Map page, and you lot can see a map of where you are. If you have added OSM maps to your GPS, you may meet roads and places. Otherwise, the map may look quite bare. Zoom in and out by pressing the up and downward arrow buttons on the left side of the GPS.

  • Farther information where to obtain OSM maps for Garmin devices and how to install them tin can be found in the OSM wiki

Tracks and Waypoints

Your GPS records two kinds of information that are useful for creating maps or saving the coordinates of a place. First, it allows y’all to save your location in the retention of the GPS. When y’all salvage a location, the coordinates will be saved with a name. For instance, your first saved indicate will be named 001, the 2d 002, and and then on.

If your GPS does not start at 001 and you would like to clear the previous points, get to the “Find” icon in the main menu. Hit “waypoints” and so the submenu button on the right side to display the Waypoint submenu. Scroll down to “Delete” click “all symbols” and “Yeah”.

When you save a point, you lot can write down the number on a piece of newspaper, along with a note nigh what information technology is, and whatever attribute or indicators you would like to know. Saved locations on your GPS are called waypoints.

Second, your GPS tin relieve what are chosen tracks. While a waypoint just saves a single location, a track volition save a serial of locations wherever you motility. For case, the track volition record your location every one second, or every i meter, and the result will be a series of dots that testify the path of where you have been. Tracks are useful for mapping objects that are represented by lines or shapes, such every bit the course of a road, or the shape of a field.

GPS path

Relieve Your Location

  • To save your current location as a waypoint, click the “X” push until your achieve the Master Carte du jour. Using the joystick, movement it so that “Mark” is highlighted on the screen. Push button the joystick push down to open up the “Salve Waypoint” page. Alternatively, you may press the the joystick button on any page until the “Save Waypoint” page opens.

save location 1

  • You can meet on this folio some information about the waypoint that you are saving. First is the proper noun. If this is your first waypoint, it probably reads “001”. This is the number you should record on paper along with the data you lot want to collect with this object. Next you volition encounter the time and date when the point is recorded. Below that are the coordinates, followed by the altitude.
  • Use the joystick to movement to the “OK” push button at the bottom of the screen. Press the joystick button down to salve this betoken. Be sure to write downward the number of the point, along with what the place is and whatsoever other data you want to record about the place in your notebook.

save location 2

  • Press the “Ten” button to become to the map folio. You lot should now see your point on the map.

Plow on the Track Log

  • Now that we accept learned how to salvage points, permit’south learn how to turn the rail log on and off. When the rail log is turned on, it will automatically record your path. It’due south good practice to turn on the log when yous brainstorm mapping, and plough it off when y’all are finished. You lot will and so be able to expect at the rail on a computer and see the path that y’all mapped. If you lot would like to map the course of a road, it is a skillful idea to save a waypoint at the beginning and end of the route, writing in your notebook the name and blazon of the road, and whatsoever other important information about the route.
  • To plough on the track log, click the “X” button until your reach the folio that says Runway Log.

turn on track

  • If you would like to empty the runway log to delete earlier recordings, use the joystick to select “Articulate”, and printing the joystick down. The bar at the superlative should read “0%”.
  • To turn on the log, movement the joystick to highlight “On”, and press the joystick down. The track log is at present recording your path.
  • Under the “Fix” pick, you as well tin can set time or distance intervals to runway. Time intervals instruct your GPS to tape your location at given intervals. If you lot take a memory carte du jour in your GPS, it is good practice to set this to 1 second, meaning that every second your location will be added to the track log. This may be useful when detailed surveys are needed.
  • Press the “10” push button to go to the map page. As you move you will see your rails shown equally a series of dots.

Copy Waypoints and Tracks to the Computer

When you are finished mapping with the GPS you will want to re-create the points and tracks to your computer so that you tin open them in JOSM.

One way to copy the waypoints and tracks is to you utilize the gratuitous software that Garmin provides, called BaseCamp. Information technology can be downloaded here. All the same, in this section we will utilize a program called GPSBabel, which offers a few additional features.

Attach GPS to the Computer

  • First, plough off the track log on your GPS, by going to the track page and selecting “Off”.
  • Attach the GPS to your reckoner with the cable. One end should plug into your computer’south USB port, and the other goes into the dorsum of the GPS, beneath the safety flap at the tiptop. The GPS should be turned on to copy the points and tracks.

Install GPS Drivers

  • You may need to install GPS drivers on your figurer. You tin download the drivers at the Garmin Website.
  • Click “Download” to get the installation file. Locate it on your computer, and double-click to install.

Linux systems (at least Fedora) exercise not need special drivers to communicate with a Garmin device (at least the eTrex Vista HCx). Just make sure that your Garmin is powered and plug it into your compure with a USB cable. You can use GPSBabel (as instructed below) or GpsPrune to grab the saved data from your device.

Go the GPSBabel Setup Program

  • GPSBabel is a program that allows united states to copy data from the GPS. If yous have a re-create of GPSBabel on a CD or usb flash drive, you lot tin skip to the adjacent department.
  • If you lot don’t have GPSbabel already, open your spider web browser and go to
  • Click “Downloads” at the superlative of the page.
  • Scroll downward the page. If your computer uses Windows, yous want to download the installation file for Windows. Click “GPSBabel-1.5.2-Setup.exe”. The file will be downloaded to your figurer.

Install GPSBabel

  • Locate the GPSBabel setup file on your computer. Double-click information technology to install.
  • Click “Next”.
  • Click “I accept” and “Next”.
  • Go on clicking “Side by side” until the program installs.
  • When the program has finished installing, click “Finish” to start GPSBabel.

GPSBabel Interface

Copy Tracks and Waypoints

  • Click in the circle next to the give-and-take “Device” at the top of the window.
  • In the dropdown menu labelled “Format”, select “Garmin serial/USB protocol”
  • Go down to the center of the window, nether Output. In the dropdown menu labelled “Format”, select “GPX XML”:

Choose GPX XML

  • Click “File Proper noun” and type a name for your saved file. It should exist something that describes the data, such equally the date and the location. For case,
  • Make sure your GPS is connected to the estimator and turned on.
  • Click “Utilise” in the bottom right corner of the window.
  • If all goes well you should see a bar motion across the screen, indicating that the data is being retrieved from the GPS. When information technology is finished, your points and track will be saved in the file that you selected.

Open in JOSM

  • Now open JOSM. On the peak menu, click “File” and then click “Open…”
  • Find and select the file that you created with GPSBabel. Click “Open”.
  • You should at present run into your points and tracks loaded into JOSM.

GPS Files Open in JOSM


Congratulations! Y’all should now have an understanding of how to use the GPS. If you haven’t already, practise saving points of some important locations.

In this section we learned how to collect points and tracks and open up them in JOSM. Later on, we will use this information to add new places to OpenStreetMap.